A study looking at blood samples to find out more about how chemotherapy affects cancer of the food pipe and stomach

Cancer type:

Oesophageal cancer
Stomach cancer





This study is looking at the length of a structure called a telomere to see if it changes during a course of chemotherapy.

All body cells contain chromosomes Open a glossary item, contained in the control centre of the cell (the nucleus Open a glossary item). The chromosomes are made of DNA. This is the genetic code – the blueprint for a human being. DNA is a bit like an instruction manual for building the body and keeping it healthy.

This study is looking at structures at the ends of chromosomes called telomeres. Telomeres act as caps to protect the chromosome. We know from research that telomeres can be shorter than usual when someone has cancer. Researchers think that telomere length may also be important as a marker of how cancer cells might respond to chemotherapy. And of how cells age, which might be important in cancer treatment.

In this study, they will measure telomere lengths in blood samples of people before, during and after a course of chemotherapy. They will look at any changes in the telomeres. And try to see if any changes in these and other markers of ageing cells and cell damage help them understand how chemotherapy affects cancer.

You will not have any direct benefit from taking part in this study, and it is unlikely to change your treatment plan in any way. But the results of the study will be used to help people with cancer in the future.

Who can enter

You can enter this study if you

  • Have a type of cancer called adenocarcinoma Open a glossary item of the stomach, the food pipe (oesophagus) or the place where the stomach and food pipe join (the gastro oesophageal junction)
  • Have cancer that has spread to nearby tissues (locally advanced Open a glossary item), or to another part of the body (metastatic disease)
  • Are due to start a chemotherapy course called ECX or ECF or EOX or EOF OR you will be having EOX and panitumumab as part of the REAL-3 study
  • Have cancer that doctors can measure easily

You cannot enter this study if you

  • Have any condition that would make it difficult or unsafe for you to give blood samples for the study
  • Have had radiotherapy or systemic Open a glossary item anti cancer treatment in the last 6 weeks
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding

Trial design

This study will recruit 330 people. Everyone will give an extra blood sample

  • At the start of the study
  • Before each cycle of chemotherapy
  • At follow up appointments after finishing chemotherapy

Hospital visits

You give the study blood samples when you are at the hospital for your treatment or follow up appointment. So you will not need to make any extra visits to take part.

Side effects

You may have a small bruise where you gave your blood sample.



Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Professor Jeff Evans

Supported by

Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:


Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials in the UK last year.

Last reviewed:

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